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461 article submissions by the ChefTalk.com community.

Italian American Celebration Feast Of Seven Fishes

  Story and photos by Becky Billingsley   Long ago somewhere in Italy's southern coastal instep it became tradition to celebrate Christmas Eve with a long multi-course dinner to symbolize waiting for the birth of Baby Jesus. Today the Feast of Seven Fishes is enthusiastically continued by Italian-American families.     The fish part of the tradition comes from the geography of the place it started: it's near the coast where there is an abundance of seafood. In the late 19th and early 20th century when a surge in Italian emigrants brought Italian flavors to... read more

Hunting Camp Cooking

If you belong to the first group, may as well stop reading right now. But if you believe in setting a fine table at hunting camp, then read on. What we'll be doing is exploring the problems and special conditions inherent in cooking "gourmet," given the restrictions imposed by time, location, and available tools and appliances.First thing to keep in mind is that you have to make some compromises. To be sure, I've been fortunate, in my work, to enjoy meals at some upscale hunting camps that would hold their own against anything served in a fine-dining restaurant. Such... read more

Espresso + Gelato: The first in a series on developing a coffee program

Affogato Jim Berman       Exploring the Marche region of Italy a few years’ back, Affogato shimmered to life for me. On a caffé menu, this unusual presence piqued my attention. The suave barista explained that a scoop of gelato was dowsed with a shot of espresso - an Italian version of a hot fudge sundae? And it was amore at first taste! And, well, I was sampling this amazingness whilst lounging on a gravel terrace overlooking the Piceno valley at sunset, so, naturally, it had to be good. Of course, it was good. Upon returning to the States, I had sought out the... read more

Gramercy Tavern

      Very fortunate to cross paths with Gramercy Tavern's Nancy Olson. What followed was an exchange of emails that led to an invitation to spend the day in one of New York's (arguably, the nation's) most noteworthy restaurants. What follows is a snapshot of the day, from morning muffins, to a trip to the market, to family meal with the Tavern crew.   Blueberry Muffins and just-squeezed orange juice greet us                    Prep work starts early; a quick look in the kitchen before heading to the market               found a flurry of... read more

The Malady That is the Modern Cooking Show

I recently read an interesting article from the Huffington Post.  In this article, the author explains and espouses her belief that food TV is a terrible way to be a fan of food.  I could not agree more.  Most of the programing that makes up today's food TV takes the focus away from the food and squarely on the people around the food.  When I was in culinary school I remember at the orientation the chefs telling us that if we watched and enjoyed watching the Food Network that chances were we would change our minds by the time we were done.  How right they were. The food... read more

Life After Culinary School And Becoming A Chef

It has been a good six months since I last wrote an entry for Cheftalk, and I have gone through more than I can write about.  If a PC could run out of ink, I could easily run it dry.  Instead, we'll revert back to 10th grade English Literature and go straight to the Cliff Notes version. Early this year my wife and I decided it was time to move again, for the last time, again.  In May I took a Sous Chef job with a large natural foods grocery chain opening a store in Sacramento.  I went into the job with nothing but excitement about having responsibility and helping the... read more

How To Cook Artichokes With Recipes

Artichokes - All Choked Up Ok, connect these dots.  What do artichokes and sexism have in common?  Well, many foods in medieval and ancient history were falsely ascribed with positive or negative attributes.  Tomatoes and potatoes for example, brought from the new world by the early European explorers, were thought to be poisonous.  Can you imagine Italians believing tomatoes were poisonous?  Artichokes, which originated in Sicily, were not only thought to be medicinal, but an aphrodisiac as well.  Women were subsequently forbidden to consume them, an edict which... read more

A Brief Introduction To Chorizo

Chorizo   By Dorine Houston   Chorizo is pork sausage of Hispanic origin. It is pronounced choREEtho in Spain and choREEso in Hispanic America. Different countries have different recipes. The first difference for a chef in the US to keep in mind is that Mexican chorizo tastes nothing like the various chorizos from Spain.   Mexican chorizo is flavored with jalapeño peppers, and is generally raw and uncured; it must be cooked. Spanish (meaning only from Spain) chorizo is flavored with smoked paprika and is usually dry-cured; it does not need to be cooked.... read more

How To Use A Chef Knife Part I

The most important tool on the kitchen? Even though chefs disagree about almost everything, most, if not all would agree that knives are the most important tool. Without their knives--their own personal knives--chefs would not perform as well as they do. It's like a professional musician who intimately knows how his or her own particular instrument plays. Knives are the one thing in the kitchen that are absolutely worth spending the money on. A good knife will last decades and may even be passed down to the next generation. But how do you know which knives are the best?... read more

Review Of Planet Barbecue Spice Pastes Rubs

By Chef Peter Martin   As a young chef, I read countless cookbooks to expand my knowledge and help me develop my own style of cooking.  While I have many favorites there are probably only a few that really helped to truly define me as a chef.  One of those books was Steven Raichlen’s “The Barbecue! Bible.”  I had been dabbling in barbecuing and smoking foods for a number of years by then, but it was while reading that book that I became inspired to really delve into the world of barbecue and learn all its aspects and nuances.   Needless to say, in the... read more

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